Tag Archives: desert

The Namib Desert, revisited

Saturday 4th February 2023, 5.50pm (day 4,181)

Namib Desert, 4/2/23

Tried to resist the temptation to put up another shot taken while flying over Namibia, and failed. The Namib Desert is apparently the world’s oldest, and runs straight down to the sea, making it look like a gargantuan beach, stretching hundreds of miles in every direction. You wouldn’t want to come here for a holiday however. No water anywhere, and combined with thick sea fogs and strong currents which can make it impossible to launch again, this is probably the most dangerous coast in the world for seafarers. Little wonder it has been termed the ‘Skeleton Coast’. Personally I think it appears as Mars might. Perhaps contrarily (but I’m like that), I find myself now quite wanting to visit this country properly. Maybe next year.

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On the descent into Walvis Bay

Saturday 21st January 2023, 10.05am (day 4,167)

Near Walvis Bay, 21/1/23

Random African country, 2/2, although unlike Ethiopia, this one — Namibia — was on the original schedule. Walvis Bay is where the Johannesburg to St Helena flight stops to refuel. On the approach, over miles of utterly barren desert, it is inconceivable that there could, or should, be a town of over 60,000 people here, but it seems that Walvis Bay is the one natural harbour for hundreds of miles in either direction, and so is the principal port for the whole country, not to mention handling traffic for landlocked Botswana and Zimbabwe as well. What the construction visible on this shot is, I have no idea for sure, but it might be the top of an artesian well, as almost all the water supply for the town comes from underground.

That’s it for my 3-day perambulation around two continents, and six airports (Manchester, Geneva, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Walvis Bay and St Helena). Two weeks on St Helena will now follow.

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The dune sea, at sunset

Wednesday 1st December 2021, 4.45pm (day 3,751)

Dune sea, 1/12/21

The flight home. The Sahara looked astonishing: this was a day when I wish I could break my own rules and post more than one photo. The River Niger certainly was worth seeing, a braid of blue and green running through a sandy wasteland. We must have crossed that somewhere in Mali.

But instead I will go with this shot; for much of the three hours it took to cross the desert I was thinking, hmmm, well it’s certainly barren, but more rocky than sandy. But then came this sea, this ocean of dunes, tinged by the setting sun. This must be far enough north to be somewhere in Algeria. Not that national boundaries really mean a lot here. If anything this is Arrakis. Had a gigantic sandworm crested out of this stuff with Fremen on its back, I would not have been surprised.

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Lake Nasser

Friday 11th January 2013, 5.05pm [Eastern African Time] (day 505)

Lake Nasser, 11/1/13

The idea of flying over the Sahara did appeal at first, but for much of it there was almost nothing to see – as one would expect, I suppose. Nothingness – at least, when seen from 35,000 feet – got boring rather quickly. However, flying over this huge expanse of water among the dunes did wake up the photographers amongst us for a while. Look closely enough at this shot and you can also get a sense of the curvature of the Earth: the horizon has a definite bend to it.

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